One of the main power sources available in space for powering satellites and spacecrafts is the sun. Photovoltaic systems can be installed to convert the incident sunlight into usable electrical power, but they need to be able to operate in harsh space environments with strong radiation fields, extreme temperature changes and in vacuum. In this context, CIGS solar cells (based on thin films of Cu(In,Ga)Se2) are a promising technology due to their radiation hardness, low cost and high stowability, while reaching a power conversion efficiency similar to that of the mainstream crystalline Silicon solar cells.
This work intends to test the effects of particle and gamma radiation on CIGS solar cells, and to develop CIGS interface passivation methods that can mitigate the resulting degradation of the cell. Furthermore, annealing studies of the irradiated samples will be performed to evaluate the temperature conditions upon which the self-healing mechanisms most efficiently restore the cell from radiation-induced damage.